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News Now

CU System
Iowa CUs experience hubbub of caucus
DES MOINES, Iowa (1/5/12)--Tuesday's Iowa Republican Caucus saw 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney win a narrow victory over candidate Rick Santorum. Although the nation's first caucus of the 2012 election is a high visibility experience, Iowa credit unions experienced the process from a distance.

"There's not a coordinated effort from a league perspective to support a candidate or candidates," Justin Hupfer, vice president of government affairs for the Iowa Credit Union league, told News Now.

"In September, Rick Perry spoke at the Iowa Credit Union League Annual Meeting and he spoke in favor of raising the member business lending cap for credit unions. Also, Newt Gingrich attended a brainstorming session of credit union leaders last summer to talk about the economy and jobs," Hupfer said.

The Iowa league follows the lead of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and does not endorse candidates or get involved with presidential campaigns, but instead encourages credit union advocates to get involved for the candidate of their choice.

On a personal level, Hupfer lives in Johnstown, a Des Moines suburb that has the largest caucus in the state, and he attended his precinct caucus and voted.

The usual format for a caucus is to provide a session of about 45 minutes to have a high-visibility surrogate for each candidate talk in support of a particular candidate. Each surrogate speaks for five to 10 minutes, and then the attendees write down who they want to vote for, Hupfer said. The one exception was that candidate Santorum spoke on his own behalf at the Johnstown caucus, Hupfer added.

CUNA's Credit Union Legislative Action Council (CULAC) is preparing to aggressively support credit union friends in this fall's elections, when the presidency, congressional seats, and state and local positions are all to be decided at the polls (News Now Jan. 4).

CULAC raised an estimated $1.8 million in funds from credit union supporters in 2011, and $1.35 million of those funds have been disbursed to pro-credit union candidates and committees.


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